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Koihime Musou – Complete First Season (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

January 19, 2011 by  



An enjoyable action/adventure anime series based on the popular adult PC visual novel video game.  “Koihime Musou” is a well-animated series that  focuses more on the adventure and character development than perverted situations or fan service.  Overall, I enjoyed “Koihime Musou” and can’t wait for season 2!

Image courtesy of © BaseSon – Koihime Musou Partnership 2008. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Koihime Musou – Complete First Season

DURATION: 12 Episodes  + 1 OAV (325 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen, Japanese 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV MA D

Release Date: January 4, 2011

Director: Nobuaki Nakanishi

Series Composition: Go Zappa

Screenplay: Go Zappa

Character Design: Miwa OShima

Theme Song: fripSide

Anime Production by Dogakobo

Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroka Nishizawa as Chōhi Yokutoku/Rinrin


Nami Kurokawa as Kan’u Unchō/Aisha

Emi Motoi as Chōun Shiryū/Sei

Erika Narumi as Shokatsuryō Kōmei/Shuri

Maki Kobayashi as Bachō Mōki/Sui

Before Hua Mulan, before Wu Zetian, China bore another great hero, one whose true name was lost to history… until now. Swearing vengeance after bandits destroy her family and village, a girl named Aisha takes the name Kan’u and sets forth on a journey that will take her across the ruins of a great nation, living not as a woman “should,” but by the strength of her own sword and the steel of her own will.

As she travels, Aisha’s courage and example become a beacon to other kindred souls: women who dare to shatter the shackles of their own traditions and take up arms, to become a force for change. Now, as a new world begins to emerge from the embers of the old, the face of evil must confront its ultimate nemesis: a girl who has become the soul of a new people. An epic battle for the fate of a nation will be unleashed!

In 2007, a Japanese adult visual novel and strategy game titled “Koihime Musou: Doki Otome Darake no Sangoushi Engi” was developed by BaseSon and released for the PC back in Jan. 2007 and a PlayStation 2 video game followed the following year, as with a new PC game.  Needless to say, the video game has caught the attention of many Japanese visual novel fans.

This led to a manga adaptation and an anime adaptation by Dogakobo (“Pokemon the Movie 2000”, “Pikachu’s Pikaboo”, “Saikano”) and two seasons of the series have aired on television.  The first season of “Koihime Musou” has now been released on DVD courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.

The anime series, which is loosely based on the Chinese novel “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” differs from the video games as it focuses on the character Kan’u Uncho (Aisha), young woman who travels all over China to help people defeat bandits which have been killing innocent people throughout the country.  When Aisha was younger, her brother hid her under the bed and she watched as her parents and her brother were killed by bandits.  Since that day, she has vowed to never let this happen again to anyone and will slay bandits who gets in her way.

The series focuses on Aisha’s travels as she befriends others who join her on her quest.

“Koihime Musou – Complete First Season” is presented on two DVD’s.  Here is a basic spoiler-less summary of each episode:

DISC 1

  • EPISODE 1 – Kan’u Makes of Vow of Sisterhood with Chohi – Aisha arrives in a village and hears there are kids trying to be bandits who follow a girl named Chohi (RinRin).
  • EPISODE 2  – Kan’u Faces Death with Cho’un – Aisha is hired by Kosonsan and a warrior named Choun (Sei) to destroy a bandit base.
  • EPISODE 3 – Chohi Battles Bacho – Aisha, RinRin and Sei must earn money to travel but with RinRin being so lazy, Aisha tells her to go home.  RinRin then meets a warrior named Bacho and both enter a competition.
  • EPISODE 4 – Bacho Attacks Soso – Bacho attacks the warrior Soso for revenge of what Soso did to her father.
  • EPISODE 5 – Kan’u Exterminates a Monster – Aisha and friends take on a monster who has been threatening a village.
  • EPISODE 6 – Chohei Competes with Komei – Aisha meets a young scholar named Komei and RinRin is jealous because Aisha always praises her.

DISC 2

  • EPISODE 7 – Chohi has a fight with Kan’u – RinRin and Aisha get into an argument about Komei and leaves the group.  She reunites with Bacho and both compete against each other in an eating contest.
  • EPISODE 8 – Kan’u Interrupts Kochu’s Plot – Aisha, RinRin and Komei rescue a girl named Shoren, not knowing she is a swindler.
  • EPISODE 9 – Ensho Finds a Treasure – Reiha’s group finds a treasure map and tries to find the treasure.  Meanwhile Aisha and Karin’s happen to be going to the same place.
  • EPISODE 10 – Sonsaku’s Life is Threatened – Many fear Queen Sonsaku and how quickly she is expanding her territory.  Many others worry that Sonsaku may destroy their kingdom.
  • EPISODE 11 – Kan’u Encounters Ryubi – Aisha and friends help save Ryubi, commander of a military force.
  • EPISODE 12 – Kan’u Accomplishes Her Goal – The bandits launch a surprise attack on the village of Touka and Aisha and friends will do whatever they can to protect it.
  • OAV – Rival Warlords Battle for the Position of Student Body President: There Will Also Be Flying Tops! – An alternate universe story as Aisha and friends are students at S. Francesca Academy and Rinrin and Aisha have an argument and take part in a Sports Festival.

VIDEO :

“Koihime Musou – Complete First Season” was a bit surprise because typically when it comes to video games receive adaptation to anime, they tend to receive so-so animation treatment for the adaptation.  But for “Koihime Musou”, Dogakobo has done a magnificent job on the anime production.  For one, because this is an adventure anime series with action but plenty of comedy, you expect to see humorous depictions of the characters and often see them in super deformed versions.  But what I was impressed with was the actual artistic backgrounds and the amount of detail and shading that went into the characters especially during the fighting sequences.

Typically, this is the advantage of smaller anime production studios is that they get to focus on one anime series and not having to stress on dealing with many anime series all at once. So, you can see a lot of detail that went into the series and its art backgrounds.  Granted, this is a series that takes place in the past and what you are mostly seeing are trees, bushes, grass and dirt, but still the overall look and feel of this anime series was more than I expected.  Great job by Dogakobo!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Koihime Musou – The Complete Season” is presented in Japanese 2.0.  For a more immersive soundtrack, I opted to set my receiver for stereo on all channels.  Overall, voice acting was well-done for this series.  It’s important to note that there is no English dub track with this DVD release.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Koihime Musou – Complete First Season” comes with the opening and ending themes and Sentai Filmworks trailers.

“Kohime Musou” was a big surprise.  I figured that it would be a perverted anime series because it was based on an adult visual novel PC game and although you do get the usual fan service at times, the series does not have an abundance of it.   More focus is placed on the story, character development anime production and so, this series goes beyond typical anime adaptations from video games.

Yes, the series does have its share of well-endowed characters but unlike other series that tends to emphasize that, the focus of the series are the adventures of these young women as they try to protect others from bandits.

But with that being said, this anime series is rated TV MA VD and that is because there is nudity.  For example, when Aisha and friends are in the hot springs, she is nude.  The series doesn’t have nudity in every episode but its there.  I will say that while the TV series is clean, the single-OAV episode gets a bit more perverted and emphasizes more of the fan service and also nudity.

So, overall, “Koihime Musou” is an anime adventure series that tends to showcase nearly all female characters while male characters are either bandits or members of the military.  There is plenty of humor and action and so far for this first season, the series is quite lighthearted.   But the biggest plus for “Koihime Musou” is its colorful cast of characters and in some ways, this style of series reminds me of older anime series with ensemble characters that fight, compete but at the same time, features a good balance of comedy and action.

There is no major violence in “Koihime Musou” which you see bloody battles or dismembering of body parts.  It’s pretty much an adventure series in which Aisha and friends go from village to village and take on various duties.  Also, focusing on the “sisterhood” that Aisha forms with the young Rinrin and their bond.  Because of RinRin’s young age, she is feisty and gets jealous of the attention that Aisha gives to others.  But it’s something the two characters work on during their adventures.

There is another season of “Koihime Musou” left and I look forward to watching it, but for now, if you are looking for a humorous action/adventure anime series, definitely give “Koihime Musou – Complete First Season” a try!

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